• Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

Commonwealth Games: Birmingham's hosting 'exceeded expectations' – BBC

ByWikafever

Aug 11, 2022

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'It feels so proud to be a Brummie'
Birmingham's hosting of the Commonwealth Games has "exceeded everybody's expectations", according to the man in charge of Team England.
The event drew to a close on Monday evening after 11 days of action.
Team England's chef de mission, Mark England, praised the city after the Games finished.
"It has been nothing short of outstanding," he said, adding that everybody should be proud of what they had contributed.
"It is not just those that bought tickets, it is everybody in the West Midlands – from the taxi drivers to the volunteers to the members of the public that have been high-fiving everybody," he said.
"Everybody should be very, very proud of what they have contributed."
Thousands of people bought tickets for events in Birmingham and the West Midlands and an estimated 1.5m people visited the city during the Games.
The closing ceremony, featuring a surprise performance by legendary Birmingham rocker Ozzy Osbourne, was watched by a crowd of 30,000 at the Alexander Stadium as well as TV audiences around the world.
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Commonwealth Games 2022: Best moments from the closing ceremony
Mr England praised Birmingham for presenting the Games in a different way – by using a mixture of old and new venues and also using stadiums elsewhere.
Athletes stayed at the University of Birmingham, the Alexander Stadium, which was used for the athletics, was updated and a new aquatics centre in Sandwell will be used as a pool by residents. The cycling was held at the velodrome in London, built for the Olympics in 2012.
"Birmingham has done very well to showcase the city globally," Mr England said. "I absolutely believe this is just the start."
Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham City Council, said the Games marked the "beginning of a golden decade of opportunity for Birmingham".
He said as well as making a bid to host the European Athletics Championships, the city would also like to bid for the World Athletics Championships.
Ian Reid, the CEO of Birmingham 2022, said it was also pleasing to hear people discuss whether the city could be a potential Olympic host.
"The great thing from my perspective is that people are talking about it.
"We'd need to be in partnership with potentially another city or two because of the scale of the Olympics, but why not? We've shown we can put on an incredible show."
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Commonwealth Games: International visitors love Birmingham
Away from sport, Mr Ward said Birmingham was also looking "very closely" at making a bid to host Eurovision in 2023.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said the aim had always been to create a lasting legacy from the Games.
"We said right from the start that these Games had to benefit every community across the West Midlands," he said, adding that the Sandwell Aquatics Centre would be a "world class facility [the community] can use forever".
Organisers recruited 14,000 volunteers who have been praised for helping create a celebratory atmosphere.
"Boy, have we put on a show," said sports minister Nigel Huddleston, who also praised the reception residents gave the Games.
"We knew this would be Birmingham and the West Midlands' opportunity to shine and it has absolutely grasped that opportunity – it has been amazing."
Birmingham took over hosting the event after Durban, which had been named for the role, stepped down in 2017 due to financial constraints.
Former world number one 400m sprinter Katharine Merry, who covered the event, said she felt the city had changed how people see the Commonwealth Games.
"I think Birmingham has really solidified how successful it can be for people to host the event," she said.
"I think the whole of the Commonwealth Games Federation should be delighted Birmingham stuck their hand in the air in 2017."
Celebrities also praised the Games, including Birmingham-based comedian Joe Lycett who tweeted that he was sad it was over.
Never seen my city like it. So sad it’s over. Come see us some time! You’d be very welcome, bab. #Birmigham2022
Sports clubs in the West Midlands have also praised the impact of the event.
Grant Dempsey, the founder of Sunday Running Club in Sutton Coldfield, said: "Last Friday we hit a crazy number, there were over 180 people on a Friday morning at five AM."
But Robert Palmer, the chief executive of Birmingham City Rockets Basketball Club, said while he was pleased people were getting involved in the summer months, he wondered whether it would continue in the dark winter months.
He has called for investment from the government and local authorities "to ensure that those young people that want to play our wonderful sport are able to do so".
Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: newsonline.westmidlands@bbc.co.uk
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